Minutes after suffering a humiliating 59-run defeat at the hands of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 19th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli talked about the task at hand while also hailing the young side led by Shreyas Iyer as the team to beat this season.
Kohli won the toss and opted to bowl first at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai. But his decision backfired as Delhi openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan raced to 68 in just 6.4 overs. RCB managed to stall the flow of runs for while. Then a rearguard onslaught from Marcus Stoinis and Rishabh Pant meant that Kohli & Co needed to chase more than 20 runs above the average score of 170 in Dubai. And he acknowledged Delhi's strength.
"DC are playing some really good cricket. Their batting is fearless. They have got pace, they have got good spinners. I won't say they are unbeatable, but they will be hard to beat. Against this side, you have to bring your 'A' game. We didn't tonight," Kohli said.
Kohli, who became the first Indian to reach 9000 runs in T20 cricket, fought a lone battle. But the skipper's 43 off 39 balls hardly make a dent on Delhi' confidence as the youngest side in the tournament register a thumping 59-run win with spinner Axar Patel, who came in as injured Amit Mishra's replacement, taking the man of the match honours for his 2/18.
"It didn't go our way. They got off to a great start, in the next eight we pulled them back, but the chase got away from us," Kohli said, rueing the poor start. "As I said, we need to grab important chances. It is not like we are dropping half chances, but sitters. Again the execution at the end was not spot on."
Then there were lapses in the field too. Aussie all-rounder Stoinis was dropped on 30 by Yuzvendra Chahal, after which he went on to score 53 of 26 balls.
With Devdutt Padikkal failing to fire, RCB needed their superstars Kohli and AB de Villiers to bat till the end. But their second-highest score, 17 off 11, came from Washington Sundar. De Villiers just managed nine runs, while Moeen Ali, who was playing his first match scored 11.
"The conversation around chasing has been to have one big partnership. With dew setting in, if you have eight wickets in hand in the last 10, the game is on even if you need 100 or more," the 31-year-old explained.
The win helped Delhi go top of the IPL 2020 points table with eight points from four wins and a defeat, while Bangalore are third with six points from three wins and a couple of defeats from an equal number of outings.
But Kohli is confident that his team can bounce back, and said that they are playing good cricket. They next play three-time champions Chennai Super Kings on Saturday at the same venue.
"We have four days before the next game so hopefully he will be ready. The good thing is, we have won three out of five. We know we are playing good cricket. We just need to be professional in those big moments," the losing skipper added.
RCB and DC are two of the three existing teams yet to win the coveted T20 trophy.
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